By the late 1800‘s--about the same time as our Clocktower--a new Bronx Municipal Building was sorely needed.
The population was growing quickly, mostly immigrants with little education but they embraced their newfound homeland with a passion.
Government proposed a new Borough Hall for the stone overlook at East Tremont Avenue and Third Avenue.
And they hired a master, too, no less an architect than George B. Post, designer of the NY Stock Exchange and City College.
Soon the Bronx would have its own spectacular Borough Hall!
Post used a rich mix of marble, yellow brick and terra cotta.
According to the New York Landmarks Commission:
"The Borough Hall was designed in monumental terms."
"It stands as a good example of public building through the nobility and scale of the architectural elements employed.”
The Borough Hall was widely regarded as “especially important for the Bronx because it is intimately identified with the history of the Borough at the end of the 19th century.”
In fact, “No other building in the entire Borough has more historical associations for the period concerned."
"Life in the Bronx centered around this building.”
But in the 1950’s and 60’s it became a symbol of all that was going wrong in our rapidly growing borough. The people organized with the intent to knock it down.
In October 1965 the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Old Bronx Borough Hall as a Landmark, protecting it in perpetuity.
Money was raised for a community center renovation.
But the neighborhood was not giving up.
Just three years later there was a “mysterious” major fire within the empty building, causing significant structural damage.
Despite efforts by the Bronx Historical Society the building was quickly deemed structurally unsafe, the landmark was withdrawn and it was demolished on January 12, 1969.
The people had won.
Our Borough lost its finest crown jewel.
Climb the magnificent stair up to the top and you’ll see.
There’s nothing there.